Eavesdropping on all things Berlin related
Part 4 of the 4-part series on Hotels in Berlin. In this post, I will explore the budget side of the city.
Berlin is a city of divisions, of opposing and sometimes incompatible viewpoints, of visible clashing cultures, and of political paradoxes. Yet the contradictions don’t stop with the politics or the people. When it comes to budget accommodations, Berlin has it all, from the craziest crappiest practically illegal spots, to some of the best run places in the world. So I recommended that if you want to stay in Berlin for less, do a little research first.
The city has long been known for its low cost of living and while it remains cheaper than most major european cities, its reputation as the Mecca for cheap-skates is fast dissolving. But there are still some deals to be found. Below are some exciting, high-quality budget accommodation options, perfect for the frugal traveller.
The Best in Budget
My first budget accommodation will come as no surprise to Berlin aficionado. The Circus is often cited as the best of the best in Hostels in Berlin. Why the best? Well, the staff is friendly, knowledgable, and actually kinda cool – people you could see yourself hanging out with in “real life”. The rooms are extraordinarily clean, simple but nicely designed. It is in a fantastic location, directly on Rosenthaler Platz. They even have special weekly events that give away free beer, soup/snacks and, during the winter season Glühwein. Do they know their audience or what? It is clear to see why this hostel has been such a success and why it continues, even 6 years later, to rank at or near the top of the best-of-lists for Berlin and for the whole of Europe. At 19 euros/night for a bed, this place is highly recommended especially for the younger set.
Not to far away in lower Prenzlauer Berg, there is also EastSeven Hostel. EastSeven often vies with Circus for the best hostel title in the city, and it is definitely on the same level. It is found on a pleasant residential street, and is close to public transportation, good restaurants and nice bars. The one difference, when compared with Circus, there is little programming put on by the staff and so less happening directly in the hostel. But that also means there is less hustle and bustle, which might suit some of you just fine. Its also a little cheaper than the circus, with rates of around 15 euros/night.
Also nearby, is another award-winning hostel, the Pfefferbett. The hostel is a renovated 19th century brewery building, and the latest addition to the Pefferberg complex. Right next door to the hostel, you have the Bassy Cowboy club, a beer garden, a restaurant and an U-bahn station. It is well situated: it’s a 2-5 minute walk from a number of cool corners in Prenzlauer Berg. Since opening it has been getting rave reviews, not in the least for its modern design: it has a 6 meter high lobby area, spacious rooms, a big garden, a deck and 24-hour bar/cafe. It is even a bit cheaper with beds available from 10 euros/night
Across town, right near the aforementioned Michelberger Hotel (see Hotels in Berlin: The Unusual) on Waschauerstr, are two large hostels called Plus Berlin and Industrie Palast. Both are in old converted factory buildings. The location is very good, between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, close to trams, s-bahn and u-bahn. Neither are crazy exciting, but both are clean and safe, and are good value for the price.
If you would prefer to avoid hostels completely but would still like to get a really good deal, I recommend you consider renting a vacation apartment. These short-term rentals often don’t have a reception and will not include any sort of breakfast. But since you have a whole apartment, with kitchen and bathroom, to yourself, this is a great option for a larger group or a family. You can use this site, a portal for berlin vacation apartments, to find an apartment in your favorite neighborhood. But booking vacation apartments in an unknown city can be a little daunting, so I have recommended 3 that are clean, safe and nice.
1) My favorite vacation apartment, and one where my parents and my friend’s parents, my friends and my friend’s friends have all stayed at, is called Berliner Leben. No one has ever left disappointed. The people running it are easy-going, professional and very helpful. It is on a nice quiet street in upper Prenzlauer Berg near the lovely Helmholtzplatz. Rates are reasonable, but book early as they fill up fast, especially in the high season.
2) Near-by you also have Apartments Prenzlauer Berg. The office where you pick up the keys is in a store on Dunckerstr. but the actual apartments are in different locations a couple a blocks away. These apartments are all within nice old renovated Altbau buildings. If you are interested, I recommend you call them directly, since their website is only in German.
3) In a quite part of Friedrichshain, you have Berlin Allee Apartments. They have short-term (nights) or long term rentals (months) here. The staff is nice and the apartments are airy and light. In the summer, this street is totally beautiful, and there are a few parks nearby.
If you are still not sure about where to stay, here are 2 more idea.
1) There are a number of small private pensions all over the city. Pensions tend to be cheaper than regular hotels and often include a homemade breakfast. Could be a nice way to get to know some local germans!
2) Look outside of the center of berlin (the ring). There you can find some really cheap deals. The location will likely be dead, but if you have a car or don’t mind traveling to the sights, this might work for you. An example is Hotel HOLI-Berlin in Lichtenberg.
So that concludes my 4-part series on Hotels in Berlin. Hope this has been helpful! Please feel free to comment, would love to hear what you think of the choices.